Just Released: More Credit Cards, Higher Limits, and . . . an Uptick in Delinquency
Today the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data released its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the second quarter of 2017. Overall debt balances increased in the period, continuing their moderate growth since 2013. Nearly all types of balances grew, with mortgages and auto loans rising by $64 billion and $23 billion, respectively. Credit card balances increased by $20 billion, recovering from the typical seasonal first-quarter decline. The overall balance surpassed its previous peak in the first quarter. We wrote here about how the new peak poses little concern in and ...
Just Released: A Closer Look at Recent Tightening in Consumer Credit
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released results today from its October 2018 SCE Credit Access Survey, which provides information on consumers' experiences with and expectations about credit demand and credit access. The survey is fielded every four months and was previously fielded in June.
The economics of debt collection: enforcement of consumer credit contracts
In the U.S., third-party debt collection agencies employ more than 140,000 people and recover more than $50 billion each year, mostly from consumers. Informational, legal, and other factors suggest that original creditors should have an advantage in collecting debts owed to them. Then, why does the debt collection industry exist and why is it so large? Explanations based on economies of scale or specialization cannot address many of the observed stylized facts. The authors develop an application of common agency theory that better explains those facts. The model explains how reliance on an ...
Household Credit and Local Economic Uncertainty
This paper investigates the impact of uncertainty on consumer credit outcomes. We develop a local measure of economic uncertainty capturing county-level labor market shocks. We then exploit microeconomic data on mortgages and credit-card balances together with the crosssectional variation provided by our uncertainty measure to show strong borrower-specific heterogeneity in response to changes in uncertainty. Among high risk borrowers or areas with more high risk borrowers, increased uncertainty is associated with housing market illiquidity and a reduction in leverage. For low risk borrowers, ...
Modeling the Revolving Revolution: The Debt Collection Channel
We investigate the role of information technology (IT) in the collection of delinquent consumer debt. We argue that the widespread adoption of IT by the debt collection industry in the 1990s contributed to the observed expansion of unsecured risky lending such as credit cards. Our model stresses the importance of delinquency and private information about borrower solvency. The prevalence of delinquency implies that the costs of debt collection must be borne by lenders to sustain incentives to repay debt. IT mitigates informational asymmetries, allowing lenders to concentrate collection ...
The 2012 diary of consumer payment choice
This paper describes the results, content, and methodology of the 2012 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (DCPC), the first edition of a survey that measures payment behavior through the daily recording of U.S. consumers? spending by type of payment instrument. A diary makes it possible to collect detailed information on individual payments, including dollar amount, device (if any) used to make the payment (computer, mobile phone, etc.), and payee type (business, person, government). This edition of the DCPC included about 2,500 participants and was conducted in October 2012. During that month, ...
The 2016 and 2017 surveys of consumer payment choice: summary results
Despite the introduction of new technology and new ways to make payments, the Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC) finds that consumer payment behavior has remained stable over the past decade. In the 10 years of the survey, debit cards, cash, and credit cards consistently have been the most popular payment instruments. In 2017, U.S. consumers ages 18 and older made 70 payments per month on average. Debit cards accounted for 31.8 percent of those monthly payments, cash for 27.4 percent, and credit cards for 23.2 percent. The SCPC continues to measure new ways to shop and pay and found ...
The 2014 survey of consumer payment choice: summary results
In 2014, the average number of U.S. consumer payments per consumer per month decreased to 66.1, in a statistically insignificant decline from 67.9 in 2013. The number of payments made by paper check continued to decline, falling by 0.7 to 5.0 checks per month, while the number of electronic payments (online banking bill payments, bank account number payments, and deductions from income) increased by 0.6 to 6.9 of these payments per month. The monthly shares of debit cards (31.1 percent), cash (25.6 percent), and credit cards (23.3 percent) continued to be largest; while the share of ...
Do consumers rely more heavily on credit cards while unemployed?
Leading up to the Great Recession, households increased their credit card debt by over 16 percent ($121 billion) during the five-year period from 2004 to 2009. The unemployment rate simultaneously began to rise in 2008, increasing from 5.0 percent in January 2008 to a high of 10.0 percent in October of 2009. During the recovery, from 2009 to 2014, credit card debt fell by more than 25 percent, as the unemployment rate returned to near prerecession levels. These coincident developments have led to speculation that consumers facing unemployment or job uncertainty may have increased their ...
The 2015 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice: summary results
The 2015 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC) was implemented using a new longitudinal panel, the Understanding America Study (UAS), and results are not yet comparable to the 2008?2014 SCPC. In 2015, U.S. consumers made 68.9 payments per month. Debit cards remained the most popular payment instrument among U.S. consumers in 2015, accounting for 32.5 percent of their monthly payments, followed by cash (27.1 percent) and credit or charge cards (21.3 percent). For nonbills, consumers used cash and debit equally?about one-third of the time for each. For bills, consumers used payment cards for ...